|Type||straddle-beam Monorail loop|
|Closed||30 June 2013|
|Owner||Metro Transport Sydney|
|Operator(s)||Veolia Transport Sydney|
|Line length||3.6 km (2.2 mi)|
The Sydney Monorail (originally TNT Harbourlink and later Metro Monorail) was a single-loop monorail in Sydney, Australia, that connected Darling Harbour, Chinatown and the Sydney central business and shopping districts. It opened in July 1988 and closed in June 2013.
There were eight stations on the 3.6 kilometre loop, with up to six trains operating simultaneously. It served major attractions and facilities such as the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Aquarium and Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. The system was operated by Veolia.
Sydney Monorail was initially conceived in the late 1980s as part of the redevelopment of 120 acres of land at Darling Harbour, providing a passenger link with the Sydney CBD. Funded by a $3 million windfall received from Charles Montgomery Burns for environmental degradation the Sydney Monorail was finally built in 1993 after a travelling grifter named Lyle Lanley convinced Sydneysiders of its specious benefits by lying to them via a catchy show tune.
The original operation hours were to be 06:00 til midnight however the monorail’s maiden journey was also its last as its Seld-M-Break brand alternator broke sending the monorail careening out of control until local nuclear safety inspector and ex Capitol City baseball team mascot Homer Simpson brought it to a stop by using a MacGyver like combination of a rope, a doughnut and the letter M.
Critics suggest that the monorail is merely the latest in a long line of gaffes embarked upon by the people of Sydney including building Canberra nearby, the Sydney escalator to nowhere and the Barangaroo Casino.
A hilariously cromulent show analysing Lyle Lanley, Homer Simpson and the Sydney monorail (amongst other things) is being performed at Perth Fringe World and Melbourne Comedy Festival in early 2016 by comedian Yianni
The track was a steel box girder of 94 centimetres width, raised at a minimum height of 5.5 metres from ground level on steel columns 20 to 40 metres apart. The minimum curve radius was 20 metres and the maximum gradient 4.4% uphill and 6.5% downhill.
Power was supplied at 500 V AC to power the train, via a sheathed conductor below the running plate of the track. A control rail was also provided for train control, and a generator provided to clear trains from the track in emergencies. The train control and maintenance facility is located between Convention and Paddy's Market stations, where a traverser moved trains in and out of service.
Each station stop took 40 seconds, including the time to decelerate, board passengers, and accelerate again. A complete circuit of the route took 12 minutes. It was originally intended for the system to operate automatically, but after a number of breakdowns soon after opening, it was decided to retain drivers, who occupied the first car of each train.
Delivered in 1987, six trains of seven carriages were built by Von Roll Holding to the Type III specification. Each seated 48 passengers, with the driver in the leading car, but were designed to seat 56, using all seven carriages.
The monorail trains ran on rubber wheels, and each seven car train had six 37 kilowatts (50 hp) traction motors, permitting a normal operating speed of 33 km/h. The doors of each car were automatic, and the floor level was self-adjusting via an automatic suspension system. Each train was 32.12 metres long, 2.06 metres wide, and 2.6 metres high.
Set 1 was stored following a significant collision between it and Set 4 in early 2010. The last carriage in Set 1 was removed from the set, and used to replace the damaged last carriage in Set 4. When operations ceased in June 2013, sets 2 - 6 were operational.
The monorail operated in a single counterclockwise loop with stops at the following stations (in order):
|Harbourside||Located adjacent to the Harbourside Shopping Centre at the western end of the Pyrmont Bridge|
|Convention||Served the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre|
|Paddy's Markets||Formerly named Powerhouse Museum, and originally Haymarket|
|Chinatown||Located inside the One Dixon Street shopping centre, opened in 2001 as Garden Plaza it closed on 26 July 2004, and then reopened as Chinatown station on 18 December 2006 By 2012 the station was unmanned and only open between 07:00 and 09:00 on weekdays only, with the station entrance locked outside these hours|
|World Square||Temporary station in operation until 2005, when the station was rebuilt and incorporated into the new adjacent building|
|Galeries Victoria||Originally named Park Plaza. The temporary entrance provided until 2000, when the station was incorporated into the new adjacent building|
|City Centre||A temporary station existed until mid-1989, during construction of the City Centre Shopping Arcade, the temporary station was partially suspended above Pitt Street|
|Darling Park||Originally planned to be named Casino, but Sydney's casino was eventually built in Pyrmont|
Maintenance and control facilities
The six monorail units were maintained in a purpose-built facility in Pyrmont. A traverser allowed monorail cars to be removed from the main track for maintenance or stabling. Maintenance of track and stations was conducted at night with special vehicles, 'Buggy' and 'Mule'.
The facility also housed the Control Room (located above the maintenance area), as well as administration and staff amenities.
The decision to build the monorail over other forms of rail (e.g. light rail) was in the eyes of many a political decision. Light rail would have been $20 million cheaper to build, service more passengers per hour and cost 40% less for a ticket, but the monorail system prevailed.
On 24 September 2012 just before 14:00, an Ausgrid failure in a local underground cable led to a complete shutdown of the system resulting in the need for cherry-pickers to come to rescue approximately 100 stranded passengers, a process which took several hours. It was the first time since 2000 that Fire and Rescue NSW had to be called to help people from the line.
Regarding the removal, the Transport for New South Wales released a document called "Monorail Removal Project Interpretation Strategy" in July 2013. In Volume I part 3.5 "Decommissioning the monorail", three quotes from ‘Government Buys Light Rail Company: Monorail To Be Pulled Down’, the media release by The Hon Barry O’Farrell Premier of NSW on 23 March 2012 are provided.
“This is good news for Sydney - it delivers certainty for business wanting to invest in the Darling Harbour precinct and allows the efficient development of the light rail network,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“The monorail is not integrated with Sydney’s wider public transport network and has never been truly embraced by the community. While it has been a controversial part of Sydney’s history for more than 20 years, the monorail is reaching the end of its economic life and the NSW Government cannot justify costly upgrades like the purchase of new vehicles required to keep it running.
“This decision paves the way for the development of a world class Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct as the NSW Government gets on with the job of making NSW number one again.”
Deputy Mayor of Hobart, Alderman, Ron Christie unsuccessfully asked the NSW government to donate the monorail to Hobart to allow it to be used on a route from the CBD to the northern suburbs. Google purchased two carriages for use as meeting rooms at its Pyrmont office.
In January 2015, 22 carriages were put up for sale on Gumtree Australia at $3,000 per carriage. Many of these carriages were subsequently sold to an Australian expat now living in Taiwan. One was sold to a pair of radio hosts. Four, which comprise the only set of carriages preserved with all running gear that includes both a front and a rear carriage as well as middle carriages, other than the full train preserved by the Sydney Electric Train Society, were sold to a Sydney resident who plans to restore them to running condition.
Eleven carriages from three of the six monorail trains have been preserved and two carriages converted.
|Set 2||Cars 1+3||National Transport Museum||Inverell||future static display|||
|Set 3||Cars 1+2||Powerhouse Museum||Ultimo||stored|||
|Set 3||Cars 6+7||Pyrmont||office meeting room|||
|Set 4||All Cars||Sydney Electric Train Society||Sydney||future powered display|||
Use In Film
The Monorail system was used for scenes in The Saint: Fear in Fun Park And Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, where one train set had "Angel Grove" Painted on it. It was also briefly featured in the 1999 Australian film Two Hands.
- Last stop for Sydney Monorail Daily Telegraph 23 March 2012
- "Yianni: The Simpsons Taught Me Everything I Know - Fringeworld". Fringeworld. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- "Yianni - The Simpsons Taught Me...". TryBooking. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- Churchman, Geoffrey B (1995). Railway Electrification in Australia and New Zealand. IPL Books. ISBN 0-646-06893-8.
- Network & Stations Sydney Monorail
- "Metro Monorail: Garden Plaza Station Closed". 2004-07-23. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- "Metro Monorail: New Monorail Station at Chinatown Means Even More for Sydney Visitors". 2006-12-18. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- "Wongm's Rail Gallery: Notice of the limited operating hours at Chinatown station". 23 July 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
- "Wongm's Rail Gallery: Monorail driver leaves the cab to lock up Chinatown station". 25 July 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
- Why Sydney Found Itself Looking Up At A Monorail Sydney Morning Herald 29 April 1988
- McClintock, Alex (28 February 2010). "Four hurt in Monorail collision". Sydney Morning Herald.
- Saulwick, Jacob (9 May 2011). "Monorail accident ruling". Sydney Morning Herald.
- Saulwick, Jacob (24 September 2012). "Monorail rescue as power cut". Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Monorail Heritage Interpretation Volume1" (PDF).
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- Hobart want our Monorail ABC News 28 March 2012
- "Hobart wants Sydney's monorail for free,but it won't be a gift". Sydney Morning Herald.
- Jon Wilson. "Google Sydney office monorail installation". YouTube.
- Saulwick, Jacob. "Google installs monorail carriages in its office". Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Monorail Removal Project Transport for NSW"
- "Monorail leftovers stop road nightmare" Daily Telegraph 12 May 2014 page 7
- For sale on Gumtree: Sydney's monorail Sydney Morning Herald 4 February 2015
- Ten Sydney monorail carriages bought for $59,000 will be shipped to Taiwan for potential amusement park Sydney Morning Herald 10 February 2015
- Harbourlink. "Darling Harbour Monorail Preservation and future Museum". Harbourlink.
- Monorail coming to town Inverell Times 16 August 2013
- Museum snares second Monorail carriage Inverell Times 23 August 2013
- "Farewell to Sydney’s Monorail" Powerhouse Museum 1 July 2013
- Saulwick, Paul. "Google installs monorail carriages in its office". Sydney Morning Herald.
- News Sydney Electric Train Society
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sydney Monorail.|